Elmslie and Camana Bay win top design award

| 03/12/2010

(CNS): Governor Duncan Taylor decided to award excellence in design for both old and new Caymanian architecture at the first ever Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence, with the iconic Elmslie Memorial Church and expansive Camana Bay Town Centre receiving joint first place, out of a short list of seven. The Elmslie Memorial Church (built in 1922) and Camana Bay Town Centre (which has been growing ever since ground was broken in 2005) beat off competition from an eclectic mix of well-known Caymanian buildings, old and new, that included Lighthouse Point, the Legislative Assembly Building, The West Indian Club, Cotton Tree Cottages and Water’s Edge, Seven Mile Beach, which were all also short listed.

Taylor was asked to make the final decision, working closely with the Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors & Engineers and the Cayman Contractors Association, aftera panel of judges had whittled down a total of 34 nominated submissions for the award.

The governor said that he felt it was important to place his stamp of approval on the project because the environment, whether it’s at home or within a city, influences how we live and he was therefore keen to continually look out for ways to improve the environment.

“With the Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence, I hope we have established a new benchmark for excellence in the construction industry,” he said to a packed audience at Government House, with representatives from all walks of the community gathered to attend the awards ceremony.

The panel of judges also came from a variety of industries, including construction, the arts and the environment, and included: Norman Bodden, Jimmy Powell, Lisa-Ann Hurlston-McKenzie, Rupert Ackermon, Bendel Hydes, Garth Arch and Rayal Bodden. They were tasked with assessing each nomination’s design excellence, creativity and innovation as well as its sustainability and its impact on the environment.

Garth Arch said he believed the Elmslie Memorial Church and Camana Bay Town Centre, which both topped the judges’ final top seven list, were specifically selected because they were projects ahead of their time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (21)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know who designed the church.

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Capt. Rayal Bodden built this chuch with the ceiling of the ribs of a ship

      • Anonymous says:

        Only partially correct…church was actually designed by a Scottish Architect R. Giles, some of the WOOD used in its roof was FROM a shipwreck but was NOT the actual ribs of a shipwreck. The construction was indeed supervised by Capt. Rayal Bodden.

    • Anonymous says:

      Elmslie was the first building in Cayman to be built of handmade concrete blocks, and also the first to be built by Captain Rayal.

      Designed by Scottish architect, Mr. R. Giles, when Captain Rayal’s name was proposed to oversee the work, he responded, “Anyone who can build a ship can build a church, but not everyone who can build a church can build a ship.” Following time spent with Portland Cement Works in Jamaica, learning how to mix concrete properly, Captain Rayal took on the job as foreman and managed to employ the services of many talented local craftsmen.

      The church clearly demonstrates the breadth of skills involved. With neat block work and a ceiling resembling the hull of an upturned ship, made from timber mostly salvaged from a shipwreck, the buildingis a fine example of Captain Rayal’s own particular style. The National Trust Historic plaque was presented to the Church on 11th September, 1996.

      Source: http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/historic/plaque.html

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets focus on the positive more and not be so cricital. Having such an award for architecture and construction in Cayman is a first for us and recognises not only the winners, but all of the great architects and contractors that that we have had on the island.

    Elsmlie is a fine example of great Caymanian architecture and superb Caymanian craftmanship using our own mahogany and other materials from our islands. Over 80 years later it remains the preferred venue for weddings and possibly the finest display of historic Cayman.

    Camana Bay is another fine example of of architecture although not historical Caymanian architecture, it has incorporated many other elements of Cayman such as the marine life and capitalizes on our natural resources such as sun, breeze, flora and fauna that did exist in our historical architecture. It also represents how foreign investment can be made to also benefit our islands and our people in the form of providing public community spaces for all to enjoy.

    Great job to everyone that put this award together!

  3. Anonymous says:


    Whilst the Governors award in this respect is a great idea  the process and methodology in judging this award is very strange and inherently faulted to  the point of senselessness.

    How can you judge condos, residential, commercial, churches and other structures all together for a single award. A condo development does not compare in any way with a commercial development like Caman Bay and a residential development does not compare well with a church or any other mix of developments. The award should be broken down into three categories.

    Both the winners deserve to win however they only deserve the award in their respective categories.


    • Caymanians for logic says:

      You are correct. Solid comment. Categories coming next year. First year open category to see overall response. Team will now adjust.

  4. Knal Domp says:

     So, no John Doak? Wha’ happenin’, Dokey-Pokey? Where ya stuff?

    • anonymous says:

      He apparently submitted almost 20 projects but was not shortlisted!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great choices for the award, old and new can co-exist, each standing out in very different ways. For any country to move forward in the right direction it must honour and recognise its past.

    As for the commentators that question the Governor’s role, there appears to be no shortage of ignorance on this website, if it is one thing the British know how to do it is govern.

    At the height of the First Cayman Bank scandal I do not remember Caymanian politicians removing a politician that played a crucial role in that scandal from the Cabinet.

    Long may our relationship with the United Kingdom continue.

  6. Just Commentin' says:

    The judges selected well. Congratulations to the respective designers and the judges. Something old, something new. A nice balance!

    Now that we have recognised excellent design and seem to have some appreciation for good architecture, could someone please take a bulldozer to the Glass House?

    The Glass House is certainly a "winner": for worst design, most energy inefficient, least sustainable and least environmentally friendly (not to mention not so terribly innovative as everyone was doing glass and metal back then). What were they thinking when they built a glass and steel building in the tropics? My FOI question is: What is the energy bill for that monstrosity? 

    Anyway, congrats to the winners and all involved in the competition!


  7. Shock and Awe says:

    Thanks guv’nor for this but there are a few other items of a more pressing nature you might want to observe.  ie:  The Economy.  Degradation of Habitat.  Crime.  Over-spending by CIG.  Politically obscure Appointments.  Refusal to comply with FOI requests.  Floundering Tourism industry. Unneccessary and extravagant perks. Unreliable and/or Missing Accounting from Gov’t. Agencies.  Unemployment. 

    To name just a few matters of concern for the residents.

    Happy Holidays your Excellency.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       Is not this the governing evolution issue we have. We have one of the best compensated elected legislatives in the world. (check it out, compensation per capita). Our Premier and MLA’s demand control of our destiny. It seems though that when it is convenient for political reasons The Premier defers respectfully to The Governor. Just my opinion but it seems to me as Premier you either lead or maybe decide to fly around the globe. All of the above Cayman Islands issues should be addressed by the Premier and the elected members, not The Governor. You can’t have it both ways.

      • Duck Outta Vatta says:

        Our MLA’s compensation to talent ration is the problem.

        Many Caymanians have a bizarre sense of their economic value in the labor market (the "I only earn $50,000 brigade").  But when politicians don’t lead what can we expect?

  8. Kmanite says:

    This is what the Governor does??

    While remaining silent on crime, immigration, government policy, spending, the economy and unemployment — you have the nerve to prattle on about making a decision for an architecture panel??


    Taking the salary and perks you do every month is robbery.

    Governor, if you are not going to have anything meaningful to say about pressing issues of the country, you should not be looking for any kudos for doing the ‘fluffy’ awards and black-tie dinners etc.


    • Duck Outta Vatta says:

      Caymanians wanted a "Caymanized" Constitution, and got it.  Now that it is obvious that this will just lead to corruption and economic ruin you are complaining about the newly limited role of the Governor?

      • Anonymous says:

        The fact that there is a new Constitution has nothing whatever to do with the issue. The Governor retains the same powers he had under the old Constitution. It is up to the holder of the office to perform the functions of the office. 

        Amazing that such a poorly informed post could draw so many thumbs up.   

    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor is merely the Patron of the Award. This is a CASE initiative to promote design excellence. Also co-sponsored by CCA, the contractors.

      Great idea.

      • Anonymous says:

        You think CASE and CCA created this award? hahaha…think again. Isnt it obvious who would win this award?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is common when someone takes up a senior post of this type, one which enables the holder to do very much but requires them to do very little, for there to be a period of adjustment and passive absorption of the culture, issues, and people.  At the conclusion, the post-holder then takes a decision as to how they will execute their office.  I suspect the Governor is reaching the end of this period and we may hear more of him in coming months. 

      Keep in mind also that there may be any number of things going on behind closed doors.  It would not be the first time we have been taken completely by surprise by the announcement of something a Governor has been in the middle of for some time.